Förster, Claire

Claire Forster
Start date:
October 2016
Research Topic:
Emotional Experiences of Nighttime Interventions
Research pathway:
Research Supervisor:
Dr Sergei Shubin and Dr Matt Roach and Dr Andrew Williams
Supervising school:
Department of Geography,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship
External Sponsor:
Blurrt and Ordnance Survey

Focusing on cities, this project seeks to elucidate the interrelatedness of space, place-making, emotional experiences and emotion-articulations in interactions of different types of ‘bodies’. To narrow this broad scope, particular attention will be paid to emotional aspects of public interventions at night-time. I am interested to see how people navigate the city and to what extent their movement-patterns are reflected in or influenced by their emotional attitudes attached to certain locales. Self-perceptions, how people are externally framed, and collective as well as individual memories presumably affect how one uses cityscapes, which necessitates ethnographic methods to unearth narratives of emotional landscapes and meanings attached to a city’s ‘places’. In the context of interventions, the questions of emotionality of experience and self-expression will have to be asked for those intervening, those ‘receiving’ interventions at night and those who may have opinions about night-time interventions that based on non-experientially obtained ‘knowledge’. When booming digital and social media enable self-representation, opinion and information-distribution at a near-omniscient scale, it becomes easier to develop emotional atmospheres or form a picture of ‘places’ that rests on other people’s experiences. Also, the virtual realm may offer a different kind of platform to express emotional attitudes that remain obscure in real-life face-to-face interventions – for all involved. It will be interesting to follow digital footprints of nightly city-dwellers to investigate their (emotional) understandings of cityscapes. Hopefully, knowledge about mobility-patterns and emplaced sentiments, related to self-identification, stereotypes etc., helps improve communication between groups involved in interventions and establish a more positive emotional cityscape.